Retreat Response – Shasta Abbey

Well it was heartening to read this piece reflecting one persons recent experience of being on an introductory retreat at Shasta Abbey in Northern California. Here’s the concluding paragraph.

One of the great things about completing an introductory retreat is that after you learn the program, you are welcome back any time. The monastery works on the idea of dana. There is no set fee or even a “suggested donation.” This is by design. And dana comes in many forms, not just money. There is an understanding that when beings are generous with other beings, those beings will be generous back. And let me tell you, these beings are generous. There is an exchange of energy so strong it creates a swirling vortex of kindness, compassion, and giving.

Gassho, Shasta Abbey. You have shown great kindness and I will remember you.

And the same goes for Throssel Hole Abbey in Northumberland. Having completed an Introductory Retreat you are welcome to stay outside of retreat times and follow the regular daily schedule.

100 Subscribers

Dear Subscribers,
I just added a photograph to my last post just so you know. Some might say 100 is a small number of followers/subscribers after having been going at it for over ten years. And sometimes I think that too. However now thinking about it I tend not to shout so using a regular voice, as I intend to do, means I tend towards not making a whole lot of noise in this Internet That’s fine by me.

And I have been thinking of doing a newsletter for subscribers. More photographs, more details about walking and getting out and about. A ‘thought for the day’ kind of piece – on video. One thing at a time though.


Thundering Silence


It’s not that my tinitus let’s up, or the cars on the road or the sound of the fridge, thoughts or the sensation of cold feet. Far from it. Just sometimes when the imperative to get going, move on, act, take action gives a way to a simpler moment. A few moments. Time and it’s passing fades, ceases it’s relentless clamour.

Before my eyes – as if a photograph. Knowing all the while lurks the imperitive, the call to action. Knowing some how, all the while, the content of the photograph/life/living it is insubstantial. Ephemeral. So what is the ground of movement in the moment of writing, walking, saving the world, relieving suffering? Preparing lunch?

The ground? Thundering Silence – in the midst of saying no to holding on – to ANY (separate) thing. We could call that non thinginess. In Buddhism we have a word for that. Sunyata.

Still? Not Stationary

duck and family

Act as if
what you do
makes a
It does.

William James

Quite so. And refraining from ‘doing’ makes a profound difference! I’m thinking of offering Spiritual Merit here. An act, if you could call it that, which simply acknowledges we are not separate beings scattered randomly around the world.  That being so how could one not open ones heart in compassion. Being still within the truth is not so easy. Still does not mean stationary.

On The First Day of the Somme

Battle of the Somme. 19,240 killed in one day.
Battle of the Somme. 19,240 killed in one day.

This is an art installation in an Exeter park. Each figure is different, there are 19,240 of them representing a man killed on the first day of the battle. Unbelievably moving. A


Thanks to long time reader, Sangha Friend and all together wise person for sending in this photograph. Often one sees these mass memorials, fields full of white crosses and the like. This installation is obviously different and I can understand how moving it was/is to behold. It brings home that these men where individuals. All different. All with unique (just like us) histories and attributes. Unbelievable suffering. Let us remember them.